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BP may ship Bakken crude to Washington State refinery via rail
HOUSTON (Reuters) - BP Plc (BP.L) may build a railroad loading system at its Pacific Northwest refinery to ship cheap Bakken crude oil from North Dakota and Montana in place of some Alaskan North Slope crude currently processed there, a company spokesman said.
"Yes, we are considering a rail project at Cherry Point," spokesman Michael Abendhoff said, referring to the 225,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) refinery in Cherry Point, Washington.
He said the project would allow BP to bring in Bakken crude and export other fuels and chemicals, including diesel and liquid petroleum gas.
"If we decide to move forward, we would begin the permitting process sometime in August," Abendhoff said.
He said the company hadn't decided how much Bakken crude it would ship in by rail. Another source familiar with refinery operations said it could be about 20,000 barrels per day, or 10 to 15 percent of the refinery's crude slate.
Tesoro Corp (TSO.N) is building a $50 million rail unloading system at its 120,000 bpd refinery in Anacortes, Washington, for the same purpose -- to back out more expensive ANS and replace it with cheaper Bakken crude.
Tesoro aims to start shipping up to 40,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude to the refinery in September.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Thursday that rail deliveries of oil and petroleum products in the United States rose by 38 percent in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period last year.
A single rail tanker car carries about 700 barrels, the EIA said. Tesoro ordered 800 rail cars for its project.
According to the Association of American Railroads, the number of rail cars hauling crude oil and petroleum products reached close to 241,000 in the first six months of 2012, compared to 174,000 in the first half of 2011.
(Additional reporting by Selam Gebrekidan in New York; Editing by Gary Hill)
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